In M&T Bank’s west end zone, a wide stretch of the field juts up at least a half-inch from the sideline level, creating what had to be a tripping hazard for Dolphins and Ravens players Sunday.
But the Dolphins’ footing issues weren’t just in the end zone. They were all over the field. Dolphins players slipped at least five times Sunday. Jarvis Landry went down in a heap on a third-down play in which he was the intended receiver. The pass fell incomplete and the drive stalled.
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“The grass was terrible,” said Dolphins defensive end Andre Branch. “We knew that coming into the game. It's no excuse at all. But that's the atmosphere we played in. Those were the elements we had to work with. They played on the same surface as we did.”
Added Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi: “It was slick out there. You saw some guys sliding around. ... There were definitely some people losing traction out there.”
But was it the field, or was it the designer cleats the league permitted players to wear in support of causes special to them? Landry changed his shoes at some point in the game, but did not say why.
“We have to go back and look at that, because we really can’t have that happen. We had a couple chances to make some big plays, and we’ve got guys falling down,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “... We just have to make sure that we have the right equipment.”
At least 15 Dolphins wore the specialty cleats, supporting causes such as race relations and social progress, cystic fibrosis and autism.